As a parent, you want your baby's first year to be as easy and comfortable as possible. There's nothing quite like seeing your precious one happy and healthy. Unfortunately, there will be times when health concerns will arise. Some of the most common issues in babies are problems in digestion, as they are still getting used to processing milk and shifting to solids, when the time is right.
Here are the 5 most common tummy problems and what parents should know about them.
If your baby frequently passes loose, watery stools, then they may be experiencing diarrhea. It can be worrying, especially because of the risk of dehydration. It may be caused by a virus or eating contaminated or spoiled food. But take note that if you're breastfeeding, watery stools are normal. Watch out for excessive amounts, though, as this may be a warning sign.
If you have started your baby on solid food, try giving them bananas, rice, and toast, but make sure to give them more fluids, whether it's breast milk or formula. A good way to gauge good fluid intake is to make sure that your baby has at least four to five wet diapers each day.
Most importantly, take your baby to the pediatrician for a check-up, especially if the diarrhea has lasted for three days or if your baby isn't wetting their diaper frequently. To determine the extent of the condition, the baby is usually weighed and the parents are interviewed to determine the exact cause.
How many times does your baby poop in one day? Newborns usually poop after every feeding. Babies can poop 8 to 10 times each day. But they can also poop once every 4 to 5 days when they're above 8 weeks old, says Children's MD, and two weeks if they haven't started eating solids and this still wouldn't be a cause of concern. Constipation happens when they do feel the urge to poop but are unable to do so.
This usually happens when new foods are introduced to their diet or if they're switching from breast milk to formula or regular milk.
Observe your baby's poop, are they in the form of hard, tiny balls? Is your baby farting a lot or straining because of difficulty pooping? Then your baby is most likely constipated.
Note the color, too. A blackish or reddish color means there is blood in your baby's poop. If this is the case, take them to the doctor immediately. Your baby's pedia may recommend prune juice to soften stool or a suppository for infants.
Gas pain happens when there is excess air in your baby's tummy. It has been attributed to their underdeveloped gastrointestinal tract as well as the normal gut bacteria in their tummies. Crying and drinking milk from a bottle can cause air to build up in their stomach as well.
The pressure caused by gas can be painful for babies. To know if your baby is suffering from gas pain, observe if their belly is inflated. Is your baby squirming or bending this way and that? Then they may be feeling uncomfortable.
Gas pains are perfectly normal and could resolve on their own. However, there are measures parents can do to let gas out. Try sitting your baby down on your lap with their back pressed to your chest. Then, gently bend their knees towards their chest. You can also lay them down and gently push their knees to their chest. Making cycling motions with their legs while they're lying down could also help.
If none of these work, consult your baby's pediatrician about the best treatment to relieve your little one's painful gas.
Because your little one's digestive system is still maturing, food and drink can easily come back up if they are fed too much or if they eat too quickly. This is what is known as spitting up or GER (gastroesophageal reflux). Many parents can relate to having their babies spit up, especially when burping their baby.
The amount of spit up varies with each baby, but you should seek the help of a doctor if it's accompanied by coughing, gagging, choking, or if your baby turns bluish in color. If your baby has trouble gaining weight or experiences projectile vomiting, take them to the doctor immediately.
To prevent excessive spitting up, take it slow. Make it a habit to stop midway through a feeding. If your breastfeeding for instance, take time to burp your baby before offering the other breast. If you experience trouble burping, try different positions: leaning forward, patting them on the side, lying on the stomach (while supervising them and patting them on the back). Keeping your baby in an upright position for about 15 minutes will also help lessen spit up and make digestion easier.
Referred to more commonly as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, this occurs when your baby's spitting up is causing more serious health concerns.
GERD is similar to spitting up, but the pain is much more severe. If your baby cries after every feeding or is gagging, couching, wheezing, or choking, it's time to bring them to the pediatrician.
To ease your baby's discomfort, burp her frequently or keep her head elevated once you're done feeding them. Be vigilant in watching for signs of bluish discoloration or breathing difficulty, as this may be indicative of a medical emergency.
sources: The Bump, Parents.com, Livestrong.com, Mother & Baby, Children's MD, Babble
READ: The ultimate color-coded baby poop guide